TikTok Owner Stepping Into the Car Industry With Self-Driving Startup Investment

ByteDance, the Chinese company behind Internet sensation TikTok, has been in the spotlight lately due to the pressure it had to deal with in the United States, where former President Donald Trump threatened with major sanctions unless taken over by an American firm.
TikTok is one of the largest social networks right now 1 photo
Photo: TikTok
While Microsoft was at one point in pole-position to purchase certain TikTok operations, ByteDance eventually formed a partnership with Oracle, thus retaining the ownership of the service whose userbase is continuously on the rise these days.

Now ByteDance can once again focus on its long-term business plan. According to a recent Bloomberg report citing people familiar with the matter, the Chinese company even considers stepping into the car business.

Most recently, TikTok's owner has invested at least $25 million in a company called QCraft, which builds self-driving technology already powering minibusses currently in operation in several Chinese cities.

QCraft, however, is a small company, though it’s backed by other big investors, including IDG Capital and Lenovo Capital. It was founded by executives with solid experience in the EV and self-driving market, including former high-profile employees of Tesla, Uber, and Waymo.

So what is ByteDance planning to do in the automotive business?

Very little is known at this point, especially because the investments in the Chinese startup are still secret. But at first glance, ByteDance is currently sticking with a simple plan of backing other companies. However, it wouldn’t necessarily be a surprise if at one point in the future it decides to join forces with a traditional carmaker for an expansion in the EV market.

Several tech giants are already working on EV-related plans, including Apple, Xiaomi, and Huawei. Out of these three, Apple’s project is currently in the most advanced phase, with a so-called Apple Car expected to hit the roads by 2024 or 2025. Apple is looking for a partner to manufacture its vehicle, as negotiations with Hyundai, Nissan, and possibly other parties have already failed.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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